Almost one in five Illinois taxpayers benefited from the Illinois EITC in 2011! Don't forget to claim the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits this year if you are eligible. Valuable information about the credit can be found on this page, at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ and at tax.illinois.gov.
What is it worth?
If you worked in 2012, you could claim the EITC to reduce your federal income taxes and/or get a bigger refund if your household earnings were:
- Less than $45,060 (or $50,270 if married filing jointly) and you were raising three or more children in your home – you could get up to $5,891!
- Less than $41,952 (or $47,162 if married filing jointly) and you were raising three or more children in your home – you could get up to $5,236!
- Less than $36,920 (or $42,130 if married filing jointly) and you were raising three or more children in your home – you could get up to $3,169!
- Less than $13,980 (or $19,190 if married filing jointly), you had no children, and you were between the ages of 25 and 64 – you could get up to $475!
The Illinois EITC is worth 7.5 percent of the federal EITC and you may get a refund that exceeds what you owe in state income taxes.
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Who is Eligible?
There are special rules to determine if you are eligible for receiving the EITC. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in order to qualify you and your spouse (if married and filing a joint return), must meet all of the following rules:
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source
- Cannot use the married, filing separate filing status
- Must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year or a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien and choose to file a joint return and be treated as a resident alien
- Cannot be the qualifying child of another person
- Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income)
- Your Adjusted Gross Income and earned income must meet the limits shown on the IRS Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page
- Your investment income must meet or be less than the amount listed on the IRS Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates Page
After you meet the EITC rules for everyone, you must also meet the rules for either workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets the qualifying child rules.
Note: There are special EITC rules for members of the military, ministers, members of the clergy, those receiving disability benefits and those impacted by disasters.
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How do I apply?
You can only get the EITC if you apply for it on your federal and state income tax returns and you can get it even if you do not owe federal or state income taxes.
If you were raising children in 2012, file federal Form 1040 or 1040A and attach Schedule EIC. If you were not raising children, file any federal income tax return. For the Illinois EITC, you must file the Form IL-1040 and attach Schedule ICR. You must have received “earned income” in 2012 to qualify - that includes wages reported on Form W-2 or self-employment reported on Form 1099-MISC or other earnings.
There are Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs throughout Illinois where families with incomes under $50,000 and individuals with incomes under $25,000 can get free electronic tax preparation and access to financial services. Most sites are open January 19 through April 15.
You may visit the IRS website – irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ – and type VITA for a convenient location or call the IRS at 800-906-0997 or 800-829-4059 (TTY).
*If you worked in the last 3 years and you did not claim the EITC in those years but were eligible, you can still apply for EITC benefits by filing an amended tax return.
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